When the Miami Herald asked state Rep. Daphne Campbell in 2012 about $145,000 in tax liens the Internal Revenue Service had placed against her, Campbell denied the liens even existed. "I don't have no tax liens," she told the paper, despite the fact that the Herald had obtained federal documents that said otherwise.
Now, New Times has now found that in Miami-Dade and Lee Counties, the oft-embattled Campbell — who is now running for Florida Senate — has had property-foreclosure proceedings brought against her ten times since the year 2000.
But when New Times called a number listed in Campbell's official election records yesterday, a woman answered and identified herself as Daphne Campbell before changing her mind. "Yes, this is her," the woman said at first.
Asked about the foreclosures, though, the woman suddenly said she was not Campbell. "You have the wrong number," she said multiple times before hanging up. A message sent to Campbell's listed email address was not returned.
Campbell, who represents parts of Miami and North Miami in the Florida House's 108th District, has been ensnared in a miles-long list of controversies since becoming a public official in 2010. Despite running as a Democrat, Campbell is loudly antiabortion, which has upset progressives. Before running for office, Campbell had operated a chain of group homes with her husband and son, where four clients died under strange circumstances and rodent droppings and dead roaches were found. (She has denied any wrongdoing.)
The cascade of tax liens filed against the family prompted the Florida Democratic Party to ask her to resign in 2012. Campbell's son Gregory was subsequently convicted of multiple charges of Medicaid fraud in 2013.
Campbell is now running for Florida Senate District 38, which encompasses parts of Hialeah and Miami Lakes.
But according to a search of publicly available court records, Campbell's properties have had foreclosure proceedings brought against them at least six times in Miami-Dade County and at least four times in Lee County. All ten foreclosure cases are now closed.
Campbell's most recent Miami foreclosure case came in 2013, after falling behind on mortgage payments for a Little River property she and her husband had purchased in April 1998. According to a legal complaint filed by Wells Fargo, Campbell owed the bank $84,176.84.
After the county filed a notice that it would sell the property, Campbell and her husband, Hubert, paid a lump sum of $52,740.42 on March 14, 2014. The foreclosure was then canceled the morning of March 18, the same day the county planned to auction off the house.
In 2010, foreclosure proceedings were filed against Campbell, her husband, and family member Alexandra Campbell after falling behind on a property on NE 144th Street. That home was sold in a short sale in 2013.
In Lee County, the family's mortgage company bought back one property under foreclosure in 2008. Another was auctioned for $70,100 in July 2010.
Campbell's husband filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Court records show Hubert also filed for divorce in Broward County in June.
Minutes after shutting down New Times' call yesterday, the same woman from Campbell's number then called back a few minutes later. "My name is Rose," the caller said. When New Times asked for her last name, she refused to give one.
"Why do you want to know my last name?" she asked. "My name is Rose. You cannot have my last name. I don’t have anything to do with you."
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She then added, "Who is Daphne Campbell? I do not know who that is."
Campbell faces a crowded free-for-all in next month's primary for a state Senate seat that most assumed long-serving Gwen Margolis would retain, but Margolis dropped out after she made an offensive statement at a campaign event.
Now Campbell faces well-funded first-time candidate Jason Pizzo, former Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongorra, teacher Don Festge, businessman Anis Blemur, and former North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns.